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Tucson's two-wheeled news source

My greatest fear when behind the wheel

It’s no secret that my primary mode of transportation is a bicycle, but with the summer heat, a two-year-old and a wife who is 8-months pregnant — the family car has been getting some use this summer.

Whenever I get behind the wheel of a car, I am hyper aware of other non-motorized road users — almost to a fault. I’ve come close to hitting another car because I am paying so much attention to the bike we were passing.

My greatest fear when I am driving is hitting a cyclist or pedestrian. I pay attention and watch for them, but I’ve seen both cyclists and pedestrians do some really stupid things. Regardless of fault, it’s something that would cause me anguish every day of my life.

I was surprised to learn it’s something local political cartoonist David Fitzsimmons has dealt with since he was 16-years-old.

He wrote a touching and heartfelt piece following the crash between a pedestrian and police officer last month.

Here’s an excerpt from his piece and be sure to read the whole thing on the Arizona Daily Star’s website.

Every time I see the words “struck and killed a pedestrian” in a headline, the memory of a night 40 years ago comes back to me with cold clarity…

I wound through the dark back streets and turned onto 29th. There were no streetlights.

He was walking home in the dark from his neighborhood tavern. We never saw each other coming.

With the suddenness of a Hitchcock fright he appeared in my headlights in the middle of the street, striding toward me. I gasped and wrenched the steering wheel right.

I was too late.

With a slamming thunk I sliced into him. In one horrifying instant my eyes met his as he rolled up onto my hood.

I skidded. He rolled off my windshield and tumbled into the darkness behind me. I leapt out of my car and my childhood leapt out of my throat.

 

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